More Homeless People In Downtown Yakima
You may have noticed it walking through the downtown area of 3rd Street.
"A lot more people hanging out down here in the parking lot," said Annette Hahn.
Over the past few weeks, people and business owners say they've seen an increase in the number of homeless people at the Millennium Plaza when overnight shelters are closed during the day.
Eats at olive garden
"A lot of people like to come up and ask me for money, especially when you come out of a restaurant, and you don't really want to be rude," said Hahn.
Victor Renteria owns Casa Vittore and says he's had homeless people wander in on several occasions, disrupting his business.
"He came into the building and he was asking some clients if they had some money," said Renteria.
Why the increase?
The Millennium Plaza is one of the bus stops this year where the Sunrise Outreach of Yakima picks up homeless people at the end of the day.
The shelter says most of the homeless will wait at the stop the whole day, which has created the problem.
The Sunrise Outreach Center says it typically takes in about 30 people every night during the winter months.
However, during this season they've seen that increase to 50, and that's been noticeable, especially in the Millennium Plaza.
"We've tried a number of other locations," said Sunrise Outreach Director Dave Hanson, "People don't feel comfortable having them in private, secluded places, so we put them in a public place. But maybe this isn't the best overall solution. We're going to try to find another one."
"I feel bad for them because I know there is a tough story behind them, the only thing is that we are running a business here," said Renteria.
City Manager Tony O'Rourke tells us the city is aware of the problem and is working on a solution.
However, some are very anxious for an answer.
"It's hard to find parking down here, and when you do, and then you have to walk by and all these people are just sitting there watching you," said Hahn, "They watch you come out, it's just -- it feels uncomfortable."
The Sunrise Outreach Center says it will be meeting with the City of Yakima this Thursday to discuss other locations homeless people can meet during the day.